Monday, 20 March 2023

Barbel Challenge 2022/23

I didn't really set a Barbel Challenge this season as I was unsure if I'd be able to go fishing that much. But I did manage to get out on the Small River quite a lot - it turned out to be a godsend during my treatment. And I landed a remarkable 228 barbel - mostly small fish but just what the doctor ordered! *Plus 31 Wye barbel.

One of the highlights was a Small River double, they are very few and far between these days. And despite occasionally fishing with James over the years we'd never witnessed the other land a double - until I was netman for James' Kennet double in January - a couple of weeks later he returned the favour - and jumped into the photo!!

 Season No 5+ 7+ 10+ Best
 2010/11 27 1 0 0 6lb 6oz
 2011/12 44 14 8 0 9lb 12oz
 2012/13 56 34 20 6 12lb 4oz
 2013/14 8 5 4 0 7lb 13oz
 2014/15 71 33 16 1 10lb 1oz
 2015/16 127 45 15 0 9lb 4oz
 2016/17 70 31 15 2 11lb 15oz
 2017/18 132 56 23 2 10lb 9oz
 2018/19 101 36 13 1 10lb 3oz
 2019/20 164 69 28 5 12lb 1oz
 2020/21 250 77 20 6 14lb 2oz
 2021/22 180 34 8 2 11lb 1oz
 2022/23 228 47 8 1 10lb 9oz
 Total: 1,458 482 178 26 Breakdown

Wednesday, 15 March 2023

Last Chuck 22/23

Couldn't resist one last trip to the river - I had a few options; try and find a dace, roach fishing - or barbel... Yeah, I fancied a last barbel pull to tide me over for three months of closed season...

A barbel first cast - so I'd made the right decision. Over the day I landed eleven barbel to 7lb 5oz (top) before I ran out of daylight - brilliant end to the season - another one in the history books!

Monday, 13 March 2023

Ice Cold Felina?

A frosty morning but at least it wasn't raining and we're running out season - to the river to bother the chub and barbel one more time (until summer). And I didn't realise just how cold the water was until I caught a fish - they were like blocks of ice!

Took a couple of hours to get a bite - time to slow the bait right down. Then I was into the fish - seven barbel (best 6lb 12oz & 6lb 0oz) and five chub (best 5lb 1oz, 4lb 5oz & 4lb 3oz) on very slow rolled luncheon meat - before the icy rain returned.

Another season in the history books? Well I have got half a pint of maggots & some meat to use up - might sneak out one more time...

Saturday, 11 March 2023

Dace & Roach

With what looked like a four hour gap in the rain (and snow) I hit the flooded river to use up the remaining maggots from the grayling trip. The target was some end of season dace and roach - and I was soon into the fish; six dace* (above) and two roach* (below)...

*The dace turned out to be gudgeon and the roach were barbel (didn't half pull in the flooded river on light gear), I still can't find a dace or roach! A trout and a few chub rounded out the trip - I can't seem to get away from barbel - lovely problem to have though!

Tuesday, 7 March 2023

Wylye Coyote

To the legendary grayling river, the Wylye, with James (massive thanks to Mike for inviting us) and I was really looking forward to this! A beautiful little river, not easy fishing, but I knew this was PB territory if I could just tempt these shy ladies of the stream.

But my morning seemed to be a string of disasters; tangles, line breaks and culminating in me standing on a bank that collapsed leaving me dangling over 10 foot of water holding on to two bunches of stinging nettles to save myself from an early bath!

In the afternoon I got into my rhythm, stick 'n' pin, 15 foot float rod, size 18 hook and maggots for bait. Three or four free samples per cast and holding the float back as much as I dared in the deep runs - made harder in the cold downstream wind but I started to find fish...

Over the course of the day I landed 21 grayling, including five over the magic two pound mark; 2lb 0oz, 2lb 4oz, 2lb 4oz, 2lb 6oz and a new PB of 2lb 12oz - a beautiful battleship grey monster. We fished until we couldn't see the floats - a red letter day for sure!

We had a bit of a camera nightmare - James leaving his memory card at home and my camera not wanting to play - I had to wait until I got home to see if we had photos of our fish. Phew! My new PB and James' best of the season were there - my 2lb 12oz beauty below.

Thursday, 2 March 2023

Two Weeks

Not long left now. Probably not going bag another pike before time is called on the season (next time) - but let's face it - it's been a far better season than I was expecting - and a lot more fishing...

But if a fail to catch another pike I'm more than happy to bag a few more barbel - and three hours on the river yesterday resulted in three early March barbel - 6lb 1oz, 6lb 9oz and one about 5lb.

What are your plans for the last two weeks?

Monday, 27 February 2023

Pork Crackling

I had pork cracking on Sunday - first time since my surgery - it was fantastic after a nine month wait! I'm putting on weight and gradually returning to full health. Still having the odd follow up scan and check-up, but it's great to be putting this whole thing behind me.

Still continuing with my fishing therapy - something I truely believe helped throughout the entire experience. And still chasing those barbel about - love just wandering about flicking a bit of bread at the fish - and added five barbel and three chub to my season.

Saturday, 18 February 2023

Spring Time?

Spring seems to be springing - well, until the frost kicks in again...

Found a mallard nest with seventeen eggs - that seems like a lot...

And the barbel were on the munch - 9lb 0oz above...

A 6lb 7oz recapture - a long way from where I saw her last...

5lb 12oz, 3lb, 1¾lb & 1½lb - that's 200 from the river this season!

Thursday, 9 February 2023

Quick Trot

It's too cold for barbel, frosty mornings and chilly days. So I thought I'd have a quick blast for a roach or dace. And to cut a long story short I couldn't find any, even in a 'banker' swim - but three barbel were interested - not the target but great fun on the light gear!

Thursday, 2 February 2023

Missing Chub

An afternoon on the small river - 6 weeks left to catch one of the big chub. But once again they've vanished - I did find two smaller ones, including this very distinctive 4lb 3oz fish in the winter sunshine.

Hopefully I'll find them. I did find three barbel - 6lb 11oz, 5lb 15oz and about 4lb - great stuff. If I can find more time I'd like to track down an end of season pike - until then the chub seach continues...